Expert Tips for Preparing a Floor for Concrete Stain

Concrete stain is a technique used to upgrade the appearance of a concrete floor.  By using an acid stain to achieve a chemical reaction between the acid and the minerals found in concrete or a water-based stain that will simply deposit it’s color into the pores of the concrete.  The colors that can be produced from a concrete stain are incredibly beautiful, natural, and surprising. With concrete stain, concrete flooring can change dramatically in appearance without incurring major costs and inconvenience.

Moon Decorative has a range of SS Specialty products to fit every possible interior or exterior design seamlessly, such as SS Rainbow Stain, an acrylic stain that seals porous and cementitious-based substrates. And everything is available through our online store, where you also get a chance to view demo videos and go over technical data.

One of the main reasons for wanting to stain a concrete floor is to provide a finished floor surface by utilizing the existing concrete already poured and there.  If you to uplift a room from dull and dirty to colors like tan, wheat, black, red, green, aqua blue, vintage umber, or even the color of cola you can choose a reactive acid stain.


Here are some expert tips for prepping a floor for concrete stain

  • Clean, re-clean then clean again: A proper stain job starts with a clean and ready surface.  Removal of glues, paints, caulking, mastic, or other contaminants is critical to a quality stain job.  A great way to see if the floor is clean and clear of contaminants is to mist it with water and see if the floor darkens.  If an area is still sealed the floor will not get dark and the water will bead up.
  • Avoid acid washing a slab prior the acid staining: Do not use acid to wash the concrete.  The acid will wash away the chemicals required for an acid stain to take. Instead use SS Surf Prep to open up the pores of the concrete and properly prepare the slab to accept the stain.
  • Test an area: After the floor is clean and prepared for stain, test an area in an inconspicuous  and install the stain and sealer just as you would on the actual floor.  This will ensure you will be happy with the results.
  • Use the proper patch material:  If an area of the floor needs repair and patching, use an acrylic-modified product that will accept concrete stains, avoid epoxy patch that will repel stain.  Even with the best patch job you must be aware that concrete patches will be apparent after staining and this is simply a part of concrete staining an existing slab.
  • Tape and protect all walls and equipment with paper not plastic: It would seem that spraying liquid onto paper is not smart, but if sprayed properly the small amount of acid stain that hits the paper should absorb and dry fairly quickly.  If you were to use plastic for protection you would notice that even a small amount of liquid that hits the plastic beads up and drips down.  This causes a dark drip pattern around the room and doesn’t look professional.

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Stamping Concrete

Stamped Concrete Slate Pattern

To enhance the appearance of a patio, driveway, sidewalk, pool deck, or even an area inside the home, stamped concrete is ideal. With stamped concrete, the concrete is textured, patterned, or embossed to strongly resemble natural stone, slate, brick, flagstone, wood, or tile, among other things.

Compared to other materials, concrete is extremely cost-effective. Having the ability to transform its appearance into something else for a fraction of the cost is a huge benefit. Although you can hire a professional to do the work, for small areas this is also a great DIY project. On Moon Decorative website, we offer a wealth of information on the process, including “how to” videos.

Regardless of who does the work, these are the top 5 certain mistakes must be avoided.

  1. Incorrect Mixture – The right proportion of concrete and water mixture has to be used. The easiest method of achieving the right mixture is to to do a slump test prior to pouring.
  2. Wrong Pattern or Texture – Becoming overzealous when taking on stamped concrete project is easy. However, instead of gravitating to the most complex design possible, you should start with a basic pattern, such as a square tile, and, preferably, a smaller area. As your skills improve, you can then expand to larger areas and more intricate patterns and textures. Moon Decorative can even create a custom pattern for you.
  3. Poor Color Choice – The goal in choosing color for concrete stamping is to create an illusion that makes the concrete appear to be something else. Colors have to be realistic and as close to the real material as possible. For instance, to create a walkway that looks like natural brick, use Brick Red BRICKFORM Color Hardener.
  4. No Sealing – For stamped concrete to last, it must be properly sealed. This not only preserves the color but texture as well. It will help stains from setting in while enhancing the overall
    appearance of the concrete.
  5. No Assistance – Even as a do-it-yourself project, you will need help. The number of people will depend on the size of the area and the complexity of the pattern.

Should You Use A Concrete Countertop Product Kit or a ‘from Scratch’ Mix?

Concrete Countertop done with enCOUNTER

A concrete countertop makes for a practical solution, because it can be strong, tough, long lasting, and unique. If you are looking to install a cement countertop, there are two products to consider.

Engineered Concrete Countertop Product Kit?

A cement countertop product kit is a DIY bundled package for those who want an all-in-one system. It appears to be a simple project, but don’t be misled. This can be a difficult project if you are working with the wrong products even for a professional contractor, so it will demand a lot of patience. Fortunately, at Moon Decorative, we provide detailed instructions and online demos on using concrete countertop products.

A kit is assumed to have everything, but this does not always happen. The best option when buying a kit is to get it from a reputable vendor that can customize it for you. At Moon decorative, we have online experts who can assist you assemble all the products you will need to execute your plan, including tips and skills training. We also have the versatile enCOUNTER concrete countertop product professionals use to create designer-looking countertops.

Concrete Countertop ‘from Scratch’ Mix?

Taking a standard bag of concrete off the shelf at your local hardware store and forming it into a countertop for functional use could render the counter useless.  Standard concrete does not meet the specifications required to provide tensile strength and compressive strength as you would expect in a thin piece of concrete acting as a countertop.  Off the shelf concrete is designed usually for 4 inch thick sidewalks and the like not for 1.5 – 2 inch countertops with cantilevered edges.  Going in on your own will require you to learn about the admixtures, water/cement ratios and the like.  It can get very confusing.  We highly recommend a pre-mixed countertop product like enCOUNTER.

In our opinion and those who have spent a lost weekend attempting to create a beautiful concrete countertop with a standard bag of cement believe the value of the right product and proven system is tough to beat.

A DIY Guide to Using Industrial Sprayers for Stained Concrete Floors

Industrial sprayers for Concrete Staining

If your home has concrete floors but needs an updated look and feel, one of the best ways to achieve a transformation is with concrete staining. Instead of guesswork or trying to use hard-to-follow instructions, Moon Decorative provides a wealth of valuable information. We sell an array of water-based and acid-based staining products and offer tips and videos that will take you through every step of the staining process.

For more assistance, the “Bob Harris Guide to Stained Concrete” book and the two DVD product “Bob Harris Guide to Stained Concrete” are great. These products include information on using industrial sprayers to make the staining process easier while producing high-quality results.

Using Sprayers for Stained Concrete

Compared to rollers, industrial sprayers are easier and quicker to use while providing much more natural looking results. The following are few basic rules for achieving optimal results:

  • Because different factors will affect the final color, test the stain in an inconspicuous area of the concrete floor. This step is essential for more subdued acid-based stains from Moon Decorative, like Cola, but even more so for brightly colored water-based stains, such as Cha-Cha
  • Final seal coat on Stained Concrete

    When staining concrete, wait a minimum of 14 days after the concrete is installed. During the curing process, concrete retains moisture. By waiting, the finished color will be more exact. You can always purchase the Vapor Transmission Test kit from Moon Decorative that determines the moisture level of the concrete and its acceptability of stain

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions since preparation of the concrete, as well as application and even cleanup, will vary according to the staining method
  • When using industrial sprayers, unsightly start-and-stop lines can be avoided by maintaining a wet edge. This is accomplished by creating small sections of flooring with joints that are already in the concrete
  • Use conical tips with industrial sprayers to produce a cone pattern that eliminates distinct spray patterns and results in a better outcome
  • Keep the sprayer’s tip at least 12 inches above the concrete floor. If the tip is too close, you will end up with dark blotches and runs
  • Regardless of the method or product used, you want to avoid over-application. Otherwise, stain will build up in low spots, especially when using dark stains
  • Following application of the acid-based stain, the floor’s surface needs to be neutralized. This consists of thorough cleaning to remove stain residue that can have a negative effect on sealer bond

Saltwater Pools Require Specific Saltwater Pool Deck Sealer For Longevity

While saltwater pools are gaining in popularity because of their gentleness on our eyes and skin, they are really hard on concrete! And the concrete around the pool, water features, and pool

Saltwater pool deck sealer<

Saltwater pool deck sealer

ladders are taking a beating. Not all sealers can be used around pools, and they certainly are not created equally, you may want to look into Saltwater pool deck sealer.

SS Specialties does however have a sealer, Deco Guard and Deco Guard Plus that is a Siloxane Modified Methyl Methacrylate and is our recommend sealer for saltwater pools or conditions where there is lots of salt used due to the weather. It is not an end all solution of never having to reseal. Sealer are always considered a sacrificial coatings that last 1-3 years and is designed to be reapplied.

Maintenance is key

You put water in the pool, and water splashes out. It’s the nature of how it works around a pool. Once the water splashes out and lands on the pool deck, the water evaporates and the mineral content in the water ends up on the deck surface as a white haze. When the water evaporates, those minerals are going to be left on the surface; there is no way to avoid this. Deposits are created.

Not everyone thinks that it’s the salt deposits doing the damage. If you don’t have a good adhesion bond between the sealer and concrete, water will eventually get underneath that sealer and will cause the sealer to delaminate. And the bottom line, when water sits on sealers long enough, it will get through. However, one way to help prevent deposits is to simply hose off the deck after each use. Another hint is to put tennis balls on the bottom of your furniture as to prevent scratching your sealer.


What makes Deco Guard the choice Saltwater pool deck sealer?

SS Deco Guard and Deco Guard Plus are both considered a “cure & seal” and can be applied on green concrete once all surface water has dissipated. This typically slows the concrete curing process and allows the concrete to become stronger and more durable. Cure & seal’s also enhance color, and Deco Guard Plus has a high sheen that will pop color even more. Deco Guard is a sealer that is more water resistant than your typical acrylic sealer. The improved adhesion properties of Deco Guard makes it ideal for salty areas, or any pool. Don’t trust your pool deck’s surface to anything but Deco Guard or Deco Guard Plus.